Brownback appoints central Kansas public defender to fill vacancy on district court bench



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SALINA, Kansas — Gov. Sam Brownback has appointed a veteran public defender in Salina to fill a soon-to-be vacant district court judgeship.

Brownback announced Thursday that Paul Hickman will replace Saline County District Judge Jerome Hellmer, who plans to retire in January.

Hickman is the deputy public defender in the state's Salina public defender office, which represents defendants in criminal cases who can't afford their own attorneys. Hickman has worked in the office since 1997 and before that was a prosecutor in Barton County.

Brownback said Hickman's mix of legal experiences will make him valuable on the bench.

Hellmer is chief judge for the 28th Judicial District that covers Saline and Ottawa counties.

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